Want Broadband? Odds Are, You’ll Choose Cable

TV ownership, and eventually, pay TV subscriptions may be on the downswing, but that doesn’t mean cable companies will need a pity party any time soon. According to data released Tuesday, big cable firms including Comcast (s cmsca) and Time Warner (s TWC) are providing the lion’s share of broadband subscriptions. In fact, when it came to choosing a broadband Internet provider in the first quarter of 2011, two out of three people signing up chose a cable company, and one out of three chose Comcast.

According to research released Tuesday by the Leichtman Research Group, the top cable broadband providers hold a 56-percent share of the entire market– besting the top telephone companies broadband market share by a total of 8.6 million subscribers. The top cable companies added over 850,000 subscribers in first quarter 2011, while the top telephone companies added around 425,000. Comcast alone added 418,000 broadband subscribers, representing the most quarterly new subscribers for the firm since the first quarter of 2008.

Among other things, the research indicates that Comcast’s Xfinity re-branding — the source of a few snickers when it was announced in 2009 — seems to be doing just fine. And while Nielsen data released earlier this month confirmed TV ownership is on the decline for the first time in nearly two decades, the top cable companies have positioned themselves nicely to benefit from any consumers opting to get their entertainment on the Internet instead.